Lake Region for 2 weeks

Old Feb 8th, 2003, 05:03 PM
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Lake Region for 2 weeks

My wife and I are planning a trip to Italy for May or June for 2 weeks. We've been to Rome, Florence, and Venice on our last trip there. This time we want to go somewhere and just relax. A few questions to help me plan this:

1) Is 2 weeks too much? We'd fly into Milan, stay the first night there, then rent a car and drive to our 'base' location. Then take day trips and drive around.
2) I'm having a hard time figuring out if it's best to stay in one place or switch. Which town would be a nice base? I'm leaning toward Bellagio.
3) Hotel or apt/villa rental? Here we're leaning toward renting something for the duration of our stay. I'm taking italian lessons now so it'd be interesting to put it into practice going to buy groceries to cook our own meals, etc.

Any help to get me started while I continue my research here will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Feb 8th, 2003, 07:31 PM
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The best of Italy can be found in a 2 week itinerary to include no major cities. I would pick 3 base locations.
Start with the Lakes, then the Ligurian coast, and finally the Tuscan hill towns. There is no better itinerary.
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Old Feb 9th, 2003, 05:27 AM
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If I understand your post correctly you intend to spend all of your two weeks in the Italian Lakes. I did that very thing and it was one of my favorite trips. Your situation may suggest that you stay in one place the entire time--getting the feel for the place, speaking Italian to locals, etc. But for maximum sightseeing I'd recommend a tour of the lakes staying on each. Sorry that I don't have my journal at hand so I could detail my trip specifically but from memory here's what we did.
Flew into Zurich and drove immediately down to the lakes having a lunch on one of the Swiss Lakes then spending our first couple of nights in Orta on that small lake staying at the San Rocco. Had previously stayed in Stresa on Maggiore and felt it to be too big and touristy so stayed this time in Cannero Riviera at the Hotel Cannero. Moved from there to spend the longest time on Como. We always stay in Menaggio at the GH Menaggio but Bellagio is fine too. Then went to Iseo and stayed in the hills at I Due Roccoli but ate at L'Albereta where Guittiera Marchesi then held 3 Michelin stars. Have since stayed at L'Albereta, a big splurge but very worth it. Finally moved on to Lake Garda and stayed in Gargnano at the Villa Juilia. Have since stayed at a wonderful place owned by a count the name of which currently escapes me, but it was wonderful and I could find it if you would like to check it out. Torre de Beneco there is also a great untouristy place. Flew home from Munich. Absolutely wonderful. Loved all the towns, scenery and the hotels we stayed at.
JmVikmanis is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2003, 07:43 AM
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Hello Pablo,

I wouldn't stay in just one place for 2 weeks - I'd suggest 2 or 3.

Bellagio or Menaggio are certainly good choices for Lake Como.

For Lake Garda I'd choose between Riva del Garda, Limone, Malcesine or Torre del Benaco. Riva is my favourite ...

Steve
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Old Feb 10th, 2003, 08:49 AM
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just a little addition to JmVikmanis. i was last year in Stresa on lake Maggiore for a week. which is very convenient if you have no car. just by chance i got one morning to Cannero. it was heaven, the most charming place. and if you're already there don't miss Ascona. have fum. shula
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Old Feb 10th, 2003, 09:03 AM
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Pablo, Have you been to Bellagio before? My impression is that as a base for day trips it would be inconvenient for getting out of every day. The roads are very curvy and I think after a few trips you'd get a little tired of the last half hour.

Personally, I think I would base on Lago Maggiore. Stresa or any of the smaller towns along the lake are beautiful. Access to major roads is easier. And you'd also get Switzerland thrown into the bargain. (Be sure to get to Bellinzona and the Centovalli).
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Old Feb 23rd, 2003, 04:08 PM
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Thank you all for your replies. Does anyone know of a good apartment to rent in the lakes region? We'd like to use this for 1 week as our base, then spend the last few days in hotels. It would be for 2 people. We'd prefer lake views.
Thanks again.

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Old Feb 23rd, 2003, 07:58 PM
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Go to www.orta.net and then www.stresa.net for more info. With a car, and a desire for romance and serenity, Orta is hard to beat. Spend a week there, and then go to Lago Como via Lugano. Have fun !
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Old Feb 26th, 2003, 08:49 PM
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Thanks Bob, I'll look into it and present my itinerary later on! Thanks again.
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 06:17 AM
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Hello all. Pardon my jumping in here, Pablo, but two folks have mentioned Cannero Riviera. Last summer I saw it from the dock as I was on the boat to Stresa. What a pretty town! I'd love to read more about your visits there, jmvik and skaf. Thanks all, J.
 
Old Mar 1st, 2003, 06:49 AM
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Bob - What do you think of this 'high-level' itinerary?

(it will be between May-July - any better time?)

-Arrive Milan, spend 1 night to get over jet lag. Renta car.
-Drive to Lago di Garda (stay in Torri del Benaco?) - spend 3 nights
-Drive to Bellagio (I've read many good reviews here of the Belvedere Hotel) - spend 4 nights (?)
-Drive to Lake Orta (stay at the Hotel Orta?) - spend 3 nights
-Drive back to Milan to come back home in the US.

Do you think we should skip Lake Garda and spend more time in the other two destinations? Would you recommend finding an apartment?

Thanks again,
Pablo
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 08:00 AM
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Pablo, I love your choice of hotels and the overall plan--you will have fun.
I see no reason to spend the first nite in Milan. Malpensa is 30 miles west of Milan and is only :45 from Orta. Get your car and drive there first to recover and get acclimated. Then, do Garda next--a 3 hour drive that includes the north loop around Milan.
End in Bellagio. If your takeoff is as late as 10:00 you can get an early start and still make it. If earlier, spend your last nite at Villa Malpensa.
Get your driving details at viamichelin.com--print the detail maps for "destination" from the left side.
BUON VIAGGIO !
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 12:02 PM
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For an apartment rental - go to
www.slowtrav.com==they have tons of rentals in ITALY!!

andy is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2003, 01:44 PM
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I am renting a 2bdrm place near Stresa for last week in May.Looks great to me. Go to www.holiday-home.com
Lower right of page enter "Stresa" then look at "lesommetrare" house.
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 03:17 PM
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For jmw who asked to hear more about Cannero Riviera--
my log includes the following:
Hotel Cannero Room 336 facing the lake with a small balcony permitting two chairs and a small table to hold wine glasses--perfection. Hotel has modern amenities and lots of old world charm, many English guests. Nice pool with yellow chairs and umbrellas, nice flowers and plantings around pool, palm trees in background and red vines covering one side of wall facing pool. local church has outdoor grotto for outdoor services but interior not much. Took ferry from there to Stresa and the islands. Hotel had lovely dining room and good food. I had macaroni with quattro fromaggi and porc ala andalusia. Took day trip to Cannabio, a somewhat bigger town than Cannero. Cannero's primary feature is it's lovely dockside promenade.

Oh, and the hotel we stayed in on Garda was Locanda San Vigilio. One of my alltime favorites.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 06:15 AM
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Thank you, JmV! Lago Maggiore is one of my favorite places in Europe; however I've always stayed at the Swiss end. It does seem that the area has an unlimited number of wonderful destinations. J.
 
Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 08:39 AM
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What is the best time to go? April, May, June, or July?

Thanks!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 09:37 AM
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Based upon my experience last year, mid June was already quite warm, some days in the lower 90's. I'd say May, but guess you'd better get a survey of various folks. J.
 
Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 10:22 AM
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Between 15 May and 15 June.
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